Today we celebrate the second international Day for Access to Information.
At the General Assembly in September 2015, the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted Agenda 2030, formulated to guide global and national development policies for the next 15 years. Agenda 2030 includes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, each with multiple specific targets.
Among these targets is SDG 16.10, which obliges signatory countries to ‘ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements’. This new universal commitment to public access to information represents a recognition by the international community that this principle is both a basic human right and a practical requirement for the achievement of all these global development objectives.
As of the end of 2016, 109 of the 193 UN member states had adopted laws to provide public access to official information, the majority of them passed in just the past ten years. The implicit hope of SDG16.10 is to reach unanimity in the national implementation of these legal guarantees by or before 2030.
GFMD, together with Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI) and Proyecto Antonio Nariño Columbia (PAN), have recently launched a series of webinars to raise awareness on Access to Information legislation, practices and SDG 16.10 amongst Latin American and Caribbean media, media development practitioners and access to information and freedom of expression campaigners. We intend to widen the scope of the project to cover all regions within the GFMD community.
The entire news industry and journalism is currently affected with existential dilemmas of fake news, rapidly changing business models, and digital transformation. The internet and social media have exacerbated low trust in institutions, with the underlying drivers of mistrust being deep-rooted political polarisation and perceived mainstream media bias. Access to information is key to regaining that trust in our media and in our institutions.
GFMD has always been at the forefront of convening joint action, advocacy efforts and coordination of the media development community. Inclusiveness and interaction is key to the success of our network. We encourage all member organisations and their staff members to benefit from being part of this unique network and take active part in our activities.
Happy Access to Information Day!
The GFMD Team